You don’t have what it takes to be my nemesis

C.A. Conrad’s (soma)tic poems have acted as an urgent appeal for an embodied, unfettered creative practice. Rooted in the Sanskrit ‘soma’, meaning ‘to press and be newly born’, and the Greek-derived ‘somatic’, relating to the body, Conrad’s (soma)tic poetry reaches out from electrifying, esoteric rituals. Their methods are elaborate, and the results are unexpected: one, for instance, might begin by seeing the poet flood their body with the field calls of extinct animals – and end not only in a consideration of survivor’s guilt and the destruction of ecosystems, but also in an elated sense of the presence, close at hand, of the many friends and lovers they lost to AIDS.

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